It is possible to speak about God eloquently and passionately without having a loving and intimate relationship with God, or the revelation knowledge of God. It is even possible to experience or receive miracles from God and yet not know God intimately or experientially.
The generation of children of Israel that God brought out of Egypt undoubtedly saw and experienced diverse wonders and miracles of God, heard God’s audible voice, and witnessed God descending mightily upon Mount Sinai; yet they did not know God intimately (Exo. 32:1, Psa. 78:8-19). How sad? What are the true tests or proofs of knowing God intimately?
The effect of the public reading of God’s Word to the Jews who just returned from exile in Babylon and had gathered in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate was very profound and remarkable (Neh. 9:1-2). God’s Word brought a great conviction of sins upon the people. Consequently, they humbled themselves before God, wept for their sins, and confessed and repented of their sins.
Their leaders had to comfort them, saying, “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.” (Neh. 8:9). This is what I refer to as “the Water Gate experience.”
Amaziah the king of Judah was undoubtedly one of the most unpredictable and unstable kings in the Bible. The Scripture records that “he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, but not with a loyal heart.” (2 Chro. 25:2 NKJV). Sometimes Amaziah would listen to God’s voice and obey God’s law, but at other times he would despise, disregard and disobey God’s voice.
On certain occasions Amaziah would gladly serve and worship the true and the living God, but at other times he would choose and set up his own gods. No one could predict accurately the next step or action of Amaziah – whether he would obey or disobey God, or whether he would serve God or idols…
The Lord Jesus spent a quality time with His first set of disciples to teach and explain, to express and demonstrate, and to infuse and inculcate in them the peculiar values, principles and standards of His kingdom that must rule and direct, guide and govern their thoughts, words, emotions, conducts, actions or lifestyle.
A summary of the peculiar values, attitudes, standards, mindsets, precepts and principles of God’s kingdom was perfectly spelt out, explained and taught by the Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples as the Discourse, the Beatitudes or Sermon on the Mount. Christ spent the rest of His days on earth to practically express and demonstrate to His disciples the peculiar lifestyle of His Kingdom…
Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ with a friendly hug and kiss. Simon Peter denied Jesus Christ three times with curses and oaths. Afterwards, both of them admitted their sins, regretted their actions, and were remorseful. But while Peter’s sorrow produced repentance and restoration, Judas’ sorrow produced death and destruction.
Apparently, there is a great difference between Peter’s sorrow which led to life and Judas’ sorrow which led to death. What is the great difference? The sorrow experienced and expressed by Peter was godly sorrow! The sorrow experienced and expressed by Judas was worldly sorrow!
You are mostly troubled, offended and provoked by tribulation or persecution for Christ’s sake because you have not unreservedly surrendered and submitted yourself to Christ and His will. Until you truly die to yourself, you cannot embrace or endure insult, ridicule, injustice, deprivation, or persecution for Christ’s sake with joy and calmness.
Self will always seek to defend, complain, protest, and even retaliate or fight back when hated, hurt, punished or persecuted for the sake of Christ. Therefore, you cannot accept, embrace or endure persecution with joy and calmness if you are not dead to self or learn to deny self…